Richard Kunze says he missed out on a lot of things when he was younger.
Unlike most students at Mission Secondary School, who play organized sports and have time to hang out, 18-year-old Kunze works on the family chicken farm in Hatzic where he was raised.
But now that he’s been awarded a $5,000 scholarship, Kunze just might fly the coop.
The scholarship is from the Horatio Alger Association (HAA), and the awards go to high school students that overcome significant adversity while demonstrating character and a will to pursue higher education.
The average family income of recipients is about $20,000. Many recipients have experienced the death of a parent or guardian, or are living with disabilities or other challenges – all while maintaining high grades and finding time to work.
Kunze has just applied to attend classes at the University of British Columbia (UBC) this September in biotechnology.
Kunze has always been interested in science, and to him the field “seemed cutting edge.” He just finished reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, about an autocratic neo-London where all human beings are engineered on literal assembly lines.
He wants to study the gene therapy aspects of the biotech field, which he believes will evolve into a more disease-defeating direction, and thinks that designer baby aspects should be illegal.
HAA vets thousands of applications across Canada. There are 85 recipients this year, and Kunze is the only Missionite to receive one.
“It’s very nice to just get that extra help,” said Kunze.